Just about everyone we know who routinely plays around on the Net -- which is just about everyone -- has gotten a Nigerian scam letter.
You gotta know the deal:
Someone has $30 million awaiting them in a Swiss bank, or something, but only if you fork over $3,000 or so to the cause. If you are so kind, your new friends will be happy to part with, say, $3 million or so.
Endless variations on that theme exist.
We got one via e-mail recently, and it goes like this:
The return address is the "Anti-Terrorist and Monitory (sic) Crimes Division, FBI Headquarters, Washington D.C."
The "writer," who says he is FBI director Robert Mueller himself, instructed us "to contact the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Phoenix, Arizona" and ask for the Reverend Daniel Parker, who is that alleged agency's "principal staff officer."
"Once you contact them, I will get back to you," writes the man masquerading as Mueller, "or else I will have an agent come visit you at home for questioning."
The Reverend Parker's address was listed as 1224 Mabo Lane Road in Phoenix, and his phone number has a 206 area code.
For the record, there is no Mabo Lane Road in Phoenix, and 206 is in the state of Washington.
The writer ordered us (not so nicely) to send $400 to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission "only for the issuing of the [unspecified] document right away and your $1.5 million will be release(d) you,
"That is the lay-down rules for the anti-crime department to released such sensitive document...The documents will clarify the intensity of this fund [and] exonerate it from money laundry, scam and terrorism.
Several other steps to financial freedom are detailed, with the WARNING [their caps] that "failure to provide the above requirement in the next 24 hours, legal action will be taken immediately by arresting and detaining you as soon as international court of justice issues a warrant of arrest, if you are found guilty, you will be jailed."
The writer reminded us, "We are charged with the responsibility of implementing legal norms and our authority is irrevocable so don't dare dispute our instruction, just act as instructed. The person you know will not help you in this matter rather abide by this instruction. The funds in question were deposited by those people that contacted you."
Unbelievably, hundreds of Americans take the bait every year, according to the U.S. Secret Service.
We haven't a clue how anyone in his or her right mind could bite.
But P.T. Barnum was on the money -- suckers are born every minute.